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Between tooth grinding and canker sores...
February 26, 2013 9:49 PM   Subscribe

I grind my teeth at night. This has already worn down my canines and causes stress on my teeth and gums. I have been repeatedly dentist-recommended to wear mouth guards at night. Shortly after I start wearing a guard (two-five days) I develop canker sores in my mouth and stop. Please fix this cycle.

These sores are painful enough that I immediately stop wearing the guard (I use the DenTek type since they're low-profile), take more vitamins and put a medicated paste on them, and in another four-five days they go away. It generally takes me a couple months to decide to try it again. This whole cycle has repeated itself four times now. The sores seem to randomly generate (not location-specific).

Why is this happening? Am I accidentally biting, or is there some small amount of old mouth bacteria/saliva I'm not fully washing out of the guard that's causing a problem? If the latter, I've tried soaking the guard in hot water, washing it out with water jet, rinsing it in mouthwash or rubbing alcohol and then in water...

How can I stop the canker sores so I can actually use the guard?
posted by vegartanipla to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
You can have the dentist make a custom night guard from a mold of your teeth. This may work better for you than the DenTek.

I have one, which works quite well for me. Other folk's experience:
http://ask.metafilter.com/187056/I-grind-my-teeth-cheap-and-expensive-night-guard-options
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:03 PM on February 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


You could also have a sensitivity/allergy to the material the nightguard is made from.
posted by batmonkey at 10:05 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


You should investigate why this might be happening before you get a custom guard-- they're pretty expensive and if they won't help, you probably don't want to pay for it and then not be able to use it.

Have you asked your dentist about whether a custom guard is less likely to cause this issue?
posted by nat at 10:10 PM on February 26, 2013


You need a custom fitted night guard that your dentist molds to your bouth, so that it doesn't rub your gums/cheeks.

I wore one for years (i was a grinder), and after getting used to it, i actually found it more confortable to sleep in than not.
posted by Kololo at 10:10 PM on February 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


As an aside, these things are great for treating canker sores: http://www.cankercover.com/
posted by jrockway at 10:15 PM on February 26, 2013


I had a similar problem with Invisalign trays. Try using denture cleaning tablets to clean your mouth guard. The generic ones from big box store worked fine, in my experience. Right before bed, use a mouthwash or spray specifically for dry mouth. This won't help if the issue is poor fit but will help tons if the sores are developing from the guard blocking the natural wash of saliva through your mouth while you sleep.
posted by jamaro at 10:19 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


It sounds like the type of guard you are using is the problem. Custom guards are not cheap but they're worth it. The one I have is actually pretty thin and rubbery and I can't imagine it rubbing on my gums. And I am the world's most sensitive person when it comes to anything irritating/rubbing my skin and such.

Also talk to your dentist.
posted by radioamy at 10:53 PM on February 26, 2013


Just so you know, I ground through two different custom night guards I had made by dentists within a couple of months - each of which cost a couple of hundred dollars even with insurance.

Now I just use whichever one is cheapest at the drugstore, because I tend to grind through those too, but at least they're only 20-30 bucks. I get canker sores too sometimes, because I have a small mouth and fleshy cheeks, and I haven't really figured out a way to stop it, but when it gets really bad I use stuff from the drugstore on the insides of my mouth that is made for canker sores and is supposed to "seal" it, kind of like "New Skin" for your mouth. I can't seem to find stuff online (Colgate Soothe and Seal comes up, but apparently it's been discontinued) but I'm pretty sure what I buy is just generic from the drugstore and I get it from the section that has Orajel and all of the canker sore products.
posted by primalux at 12:04 AM on February 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


A pediatric dentist told me that canker sores can be from kids keeping their fingers in their mouths - bacteria. So you could try the extra cleaning route to rule out bacteria. Also make sure you store the guard dry.
posted by RoadScholar at 5:23 AM on February 27, 2013


I'm naturally prone to canker sores; my dentist says that canker sores are actually just blisters but it's the presence of bacteria which makes them open and painful (ie. if there wasn't bacteria in our mouths, the sore would just be a nonpainful blister).

I haven't had a chance to use it myself (am currently in a sore-free phase), but my dentist told me to try Peroxyl, which is an antibackterial mouthwash, at the first sign a sore is developing. It will prevent the sore from getting worse and also helps fully developed sores heal more quickly.
posted by kitkatcathy at 6:21 AM on February 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I grind my teeth and my dentist made me a custom appliance that only fits over the front teeth. There's no gum contact at all and it completely prevents my molars from touching. It's made of a hard plastic of some kind. I'm not sure this is a common design or my dentist came up with it on his own but it's worked for me for years with no issues at all.

I use a regular denture cleaner to clean mine periodically and I have the option of taking it with me when I go for a cleaning to have it run through their sonic cleaner. Ask your dentist what they can do.
posted by tommasz at 6:29 AM on February 27, 2013


I grind my teeth, and I got my dentist to make me a mouth guard. I still get massive cankers on my tongue from it. The thing I find helps is being incredibly fastidious about the cleanliness of the mouth guard and my mouth before and after putting it in. Like, brush your teeth at night, then brush your mouth guard and rinse it out before putting it in. Then, in the morning, brush your teeth and brush your mouth guard, rinse and put the guard away in its case until the night. It's the only thing that helps for me.
posted by LN at 6:55 AM on February 27, 2013


Start taking a multivitamin IMMEDIATELY and do it every day. I had canker sores often, beginning when I was a little kid all the way up through my 30s. About 2 years ago, I finally committed to taking a multivitamin every day, and the number of canker sores I experience has been cut down dramatically. DRAMATICALLY.

I'm not saying a multivitamin will be your solution, but it's a step in the right direction. DO IT!!! :)

And for the record, I take the generic store brand version of Centrum Men's Daily.
posted by 2oh1 at 4:40 PM on February 27, 2013


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